5 Scary Stories That Sound Made Up (That Really Happened)


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A Farm Worker Slipped Hundreds Of Needles Into Strawberries

There’s a long-running urban legend about needles being hidden in Halloween candy, and it’s total nonsense … because they were in the fruit this whole time. Yes, we’ve been blaming innocent ol’ sugar when the healthy option was the one truly trying to murder us.

An Australian farm supervisor slipped hundreds of needles into her strawberries, prompting 230 complaints and a financial crisis for the industry. Senior citizens were just starting to doubt the veracity of all those Facebook posts about the government putting AIDS in Pepsi, and then needles in their groceries undid all that progress.

Joshua GanePictured: vindication for every paranoid, email-forwarding grandmother in the world.

The woman responsible, 50-year-old My Ut Trinh, was motivated by spite over a workplace grievance. She was caught, in part, because she talked about her intentions with a co-worker. Hey, some people take their workplace complaints to HR, and some force an entire industry to its knees while putting hundreds of lives at risk. Different strokes. Trinh’s act triggered copycat crimes, and she was denied bail for fear she would harass witnesses, because supervillains are real — they’re just way lamer than you thought.

Related: 6 Horrifying Urban Legends That Actually Came True

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11 Family Members Committed Suicide Together For No Real Reason

When Bhavnesh Bhatia’s grocery store didn’t open at the usual time, concerned neighbors investigated his Delhi home and found 11 corpses. The 50-year-old Bhatia and nine other family members, ranging from 15 to 45, had all been hanged. Bhavnesh’s 77-year-old mother had been strangled without any apparent resistance. Most of them were blindfolded and gagged. Their home was dubbed the House of Horrors, so the title of the Netflix documentary is already set.

From the outside, everything appeared to be going fine for the middle-class family. A wedding was in the works, the teenagers had an upcoming cricket match, both their grocery store and their plywood businesses were humming along. The family had even ordered food which was left uneaten, and made preparations for breakfast the next day. The speculation was that any investigation would reveal some sort of secret shame — massive financial loses, fraud, dishonor. Instead, police found something creepier.

The investigation centered around the diary of Bhavnesh’s brother, 45-year-old Lalit Bhatia. Lalit had taken over as head of the family after their father’s death in 2007, and it seems he had gone mad with a moderate amount of power. He believed his dead father was communicating with him, and everyone else in the family just … went along with that. Lalit began to dictate the daily routines of his family. They cut meat and alcohol from their diets, became more religious, and saw their businesses grow and profit. And then they all killed themselves in a ritual meant to let them meet and thank Lalit’s father for his spiritual guidance. A ritual everyone thought that they would somehow miraculously survive.

Psychologists blamed the incident on a shared psychotic disorder. Lalit was delusional, but he had also legitimately helped the family, so no one wanted to be the weirdo who made things awkward by saying, “Hey, maybe group suicide isn’t the right move here?” We’ll never know whether Lalit believed everything he said, but that’s how 11 educated, financially comfortable, well-respected middle-class people killed themselves without making a big deal about it.

Check out all of Eamon Lahiri’s work here. For queries about work or his favorite flavor of ice-cream, get in touch at eamon.lahiri@gmail.com or say hi on Twitter.

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